Pre-pandemic evictions delayed by COVID-19 now frozen by CDC order

September 25, 2020

Local courts are still sorting out what the Centers for Disease Control’s eviction order does for landlords and tenants. 

Areas like Jefferson County that didn’t have a moratorium on evictions before now have to restrict who gets one. While it’s a welcome relief to some renters, property owners like Chris worry about eviction cases that have been in progress since before the pandemic.

Chris bought his Jefferson County home brand-new in 2008. Five years ago, he decided to move and rent it out. He planned to someday move back in. Then, in January, his renter’s checks started to bounce.

He filed an unlawful detainer case in February. His hearings were delayed over, and over again.

Chris asked to be identified only by his first name, because the case is still in the courts. It might be waiting for a long time.

“They had not been wanting to hold court because of the pandemic, and I understand that,” Chris said.  “But that’s kind of mixed signals, when you’ve got one set of Jefferson County saying, well, we’ve got this pandemic and we don’t want to hold court. But then you’ve got another side of it saying well we’re not going to wear masks, we’re not going to mandate our people wear masks.”

The court hearings were delayed all the way to Sept. 2, when the CDC issued a public health order that put an end to eviction actions for non-payment.

“I understand people that are having a hard time right now. But this has nothing to do with them, nothing to do with it,” said Chris.

The public health order will force landlords to wait until January 2021 to evict renters that are not paying their full rent. Chris worries that means he’ll go a full year without income from his rental property.

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